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Final Cut Pro X Spinning Beach Ball and Not Responding

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Sean Hynes
Final Cut Pro X Spinning Beach Ball and Not Responding
on Jan 30, 2018 at 2:30:56 pm

I have recently purchased a refurbished 2011 21.5 inch iMac 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7. I've reinstalled Final Cut Pro X after using it on my last computer (currently running 10.4). I have 12gb of RAM (soon to be upgraded to 16gb), and AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB graphics card.

I have an external 1tb usb drive connected to the back of the mac, that I use to store the files for the video library itself. When I import media into the program from my main external drive, it gets imported into the library stored on this 1tb usb drive. I have events with a few hours worth of footage in each (no more than 8 hours in either case), and the drive is only about half full.

When using Final Cut Pro X, on various occasions e.g when simply selecting raw clips in the events page, or pressing the space bar to play etc, the program often comes to a halt with the spinning beach ball of death. Sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes indefinitely, causing a "not responding" status to appear on the force quit applications window.

I'm aware that raid drives are the ideal solution for super lightning fast access to files, and backup of media etc. However I'm wondering what's actually causing this problem with me editing on Final Cut Pro. The program itself? The usb drive? another underlying problem, that keeps causing the program to struggle, freeze up, and not respond.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

- The Seanacus


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Joe Marler
Re: Final Cut Pro X Spinning Beach Ball and Not Responding
on Jan 30, 2018 at 5:08:13 pm

[Sean Hynes] "...refurbished 2011 21.5 inch iMac 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7...Final Cut Pro X...10.4...external 1tb usb drive connected to the back of the mac...store the files for the video library itself...gets imported into the library stored on this 1tb usb drive. I have events with a few hours worth of footage in each (no more than 8 hours in either case), and the drive is only about half full....on various occasions e.g when simply selecting raw clips in the events page, or pressing the space bar to play etc, the program often comes to a halt with the spinning beach ball of death. Sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes indefinitely, causing a "not responding" status to appear on the force quit applications window...."

The 2011 iMac 21.5" had only USB 2.0 ports. Even if the portable drive is USB 3, you are using it at USB 2.0 rates which is very slow. If your media is 4k H264 this entails a major CPU burden, but a 2011 "Sandy Bridge" CPU should be able to handle that if using proxies. If it is 1080p H264 it should handle it no problem. If the media is optimized that greatly increases the I/O burden and with USB 2.0 you don't have much I/O bandwidth.

If eight hours of video roughly fills half a 1TB drive, this could imply a bit rate of about 100 megabit/sec which is generally 4K H264. Let us know what camera and codec, including resolution, frame rate and bit rate, and whether you are using original media, proxies or optimized media.

That said, it should not lock up in a perpetual beach ball or become non responsive no matter how slow the machine is -- it should just be slow.

Is there any possibility the external drive is not HFS+ but is formatted ExFAT or FAT-32? Any active FCPX media should only be on an HFS+ volume. I don't remember the specific problems if you put a library on a non-HFS volume, but that should not be done.

I'd suggest you run Apple Hardware Test as a 1st step, also run Disk Utility First Aid on all drives. Even if the hardware test passes this is not a guaranteed clean bill of health, but it's an easy to run test: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201257

It would also be useful if you ran Black Magic disk test on all volumes, especially the external USB portable drive, and make sure it is formatted HFS+: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blackmagic-disk-speed-test/id425264550?mt=1...

Even if your media drive is only half full, if the system drive is nearly full you could be running out of paging file space. That will often cause unpredictable behavior, so make sure you have at least 20% free space on the boot drive.


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Russ Carlin
Re: Final Cut Pro X Spinning Beach Ball and Not Responding
on Jan 31, 2018 at 12:31:13 pm

I had this happen with my Mac, turned out that the RAM was faulty. Don't rule out the possibility of hardware issues. Might be worth running a test on it?


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